After Oprah’s inspiring speech during the Golden Globes, people immediately started in with cries of “Oprah For President!” And that is perfectly understandable. People are STARVED for competent, compassionate leadership… And a speaker whose speeches don’t read like a third grader’s Mad Libs (though, to be fair, the “stable genius” actually speaks at a FOURTH GRADE LEVEL — lower than any of the last 15 presidents). So when Oprah takes the stage while accepting her Cecil B. de Mille Lifetime Achievement Award and drops THIS BRILLIANCE…
… It makes sense that #Oprah2020 starts trending on Twitter (by the way, even if you already watched he speech, you should take a few minutes and watch it again. I watched it for the third time just now, and it still brings tears to my eyes. And hope to my soul). People immediately (and unfairly) started comparing her to Hillary Clinton… A phenomenon which is laid bare with this one amazing tweet:
But before we start trying to figure out what we will call Stedman instead of “First Lady,” and before we toss out the idea altogether, here are a couple things I have been thinking about:
1 — BEING A BETTER OPTION THAN TRUMP DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD BE PRESIDENT. Obviously, nearly ANYONE is better than the demented, lying narcissist who is currently splitting time between the White House and his golf courses. But that would be true for just about anyone or anything. The Rock… Chris Rock… Kidd Rock… An ACTUAL ROCK… Anything. I could carve a life-sized statue of Oprah from a giant waste water treatment center clog of “flushable” wipes, and it would make a better president than the dimwit we are currently stuck with.
2 — ELECTING OPRAH IS TAKING THE EASY WAY OUT. Social change involves more than thinking of a candidate so popular that she is able to win. We do not need a savior — We need to get off our asses. We need to work. We need to march. We need to VOTE… And not just in presidential elections, but in PRIMARIES! When the only people voting in the primaries are extremists, it makes sense that we are ending up with extremist candidates. And people like you — yes, YOU, reading this post — and me need to seriously consider running for office. Like Dahlia Lithwick wrote in THIS AMAZING ARTICLE on Slate, “When someone tells you ‘I alone can fix it,’ you should run screaming for the emergency exits. When someone tells you to get off your ass and fix it yourself, you should think first about running for office yourself.”
3 — STOP ACTING LIKE TRUMP AND OPRAH ARE ANYTHING ALIKE BECAUSE “THEY’RE BOTH CELEBRITIES.” They are nothing alike. It is a false equivalency. Oprah is compassionate and intelligent and kind and wise. Trump is none of those things. Oprah actually built her wealth from nothing… Trump was born on third and thought he hit a triple. Oprah can also put together a coherent sentence, and as we’ve seen time and time again, Trump cannot. As evidenced here…
In the words of Stephen Colbert, “I offer a note of caution… Do we really want to elect ANOTHER billionaire TV star? Granted, this one is actually a billionaire, and actually a TV star…”
4 — OPRAH IN NOT A FAIRY THAT MAGICALLY FIXES EVERYTHING. From Reese Witherspoon’s introduction, you might have thought all that is needed for peace in the Middle East was a makeup trailer hug from Ms. Winfrey… Like a faith healer on “The Leftovers” (an allusion which, if you don’t get it, you should find someone’s HBO GO password and binge the entire series immediately. IMMEDIATELY). Obama could give a good speech too… That didn’t stop a dumpster fire from being elected. Still, as inspiring as Oprah’s speech was, hungry people cannot eat a speech for dinner. America is not a studio audience that can look under their chair to find healthcare and a living wage. Here’s a good tweet thread about that…
5 — THERE ARE MANY GOOD WOMEN TO VOTE FOR WHO HAVE ACTUAL EXPERIENCE IN GOVERNING. This should go without saying. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Tammy Duckworth, Kirstin Gillibrand, and many others have all devoted large portions of their lives to public service. Beyoncé is ALSO a black woman who is super popular and super rich — That doesn’t mean she needs to be president. I mean, she’s already Queen… What more does she want? At least she knows the words to the National Anthem…
6 — IT’S NOT OPRAH’S RESPONSIBILITY TO SAVE THE COUNTRY FROM TRUMP. When Alabama was faced with the possible election of the objectively horrible human being Roy Moore, all of a sudden the democratic party started caring about black women. This is not Oprah’s fight. I mean, if she has ideas for the direction of the country, and she wants to run, that’s her right. But we can’t get all “Help us, Oprah Wan Kenobi… You’re our only hope” on her just because we think she’ll bring in the votes from women and People of Color. We should be voting for women and People of Color because there are all kinds of women and People of Color who DESERVE A CHANCE TO LEAD… Not as some political maneuver.
7 — THAT BEING SAID, I WOULD TOTALLY VOTE FOR HER. Obviously I would if she ends up being the candidate opposite Trump, because as we discussed before, I’d vote for a vat of hot mayonnaise before I’d vote for Trump. But even beyond that, I’d vote for her because I feel like she is a good person. It’s way too early to be deciding things like this, but we could do a hell of a lot worse than a President Oprah Winfrey. Every person who gets to know her comes away feeling like they got the chance to be near a truly special human being. And that is worth something. That is worth A LOT. Experience is important… But it’s not nearly as important as integrity and wisdom.
I’ve missed you. I hope your holidays were peaceful and restful… and I hope you feel rejuvenated for a new year, ready to stay thoughtful and informed and loving and hopeful. I am honored that you allow me to play a small role in that. If you value this blog and you want to support it, you can BECOME A PATRON or LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL. If you’d like to stay in touch, please follow me on FACEBOOK or on TWITTER. Love you, and thanks for reading and for sharing.
“Oprah wan Kenobi”! Love it!
There’s one person I’d like to see in the presidential discussion.
1. He’s a guy (a white male, but we shouldn’t hold that against him, for several reasons which I’m not going to elucidate here) who is 59 the last time I checked, so he’s got that going for him. No “old fogey” who will be pushing senility by the time the term ends. (Seriously, Sanders will be lucky to be *alive* by the time 2024 comes around! You have to keep that in mind!)
2. He’s from a key “purple” state, which is important when considering the Electoral College.
3. He’s got a lot of experience at different levels of politics. He’s been a big city mayor, state governor, and is currently serving in the US Senate.
4. He knows the party machinery, having spent some time as the DNC Chairman.
5. He’s had exposure on a national campaign, so any significant problems have already been aired.
Tim Kaine in 2020?